Chase Field in downtown Phoenix is home to Arizona Diamondbacks, one of the latest major league franchises. Formerly Bank One Ballpark, became Chase Field in 2005 after JPMorgan Chase acquired Bank One, which originally held the naming rights. It is the first US sports arena both with a roof and a natural-grass field. A retro-modern design opened in 1998, Chase Field is the second oldest continuing MLB stadium with a retractable roof after Rogers Center.
The 1995 MLB expansion created the Arizona Diamondbacks. As Phoenix was a key contestant for a place in the major league, Maricopa County began planning a new stadium in 1994. It proposed a quarter-cent raise in the county sales tax in the spring of 1994 to fund the stadium. This occurred at a time when the county was dealing with massive budget gaps and a shortage of funds for other programs. Soon, county residents began protesting against public funding of the stadium. This led to a murderous attack on Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox in August 1997.
The park’s construction began in 1996 and was completed just in time for the Diamondbacks’ inaugural season in 1998. The stadium was initially expected to cost $279 million in 1995, but cost overruns increased the final cost to $364 million. The Diamondbacks were responsible for all building costs above $253 million as part of the stadium agreement with the county administration.
Chicago-based Bank One purchased the 30-year naming rights in a $100-million deal. After JPMorgan Chase & Co acquired Bank One in 2005, it took over the naming rights and agrees to pay $3 million a year.
Design and Features
Chase Field is the third MLB and the first US ballpark to feature a retractable roof. T-Mobile Park with a similar roof design opened a year later. It was also the first retractable roof stadium in the world to feature a natural-grass surface. The ballpark after its inauguration became a cynosure for baseball fans for its cutting-edge retractable roof. It takes about 5 minutes to open or close Chase Field’s roof.
The initial plan was to have an open-air baseball-only stadium following the retro-modern designs that sweep fans in the 1990s. However, Phoenix’s climate was different and the temperature frequently crosses 110°F. The MLB authorities sought a stadium that could protect the players and spectators from the extreme weather in the hottest US city in the north. This led to changes in the plan bringing into fore a retractable-roof design. When the temperature outside is below 100 degrees and the sun is setting, the game is usually played with the roof open. During the day times, games are played under a closed roof. Chase Field also has an air-conditioning system.
Features and Concessions
Chase Field has 4,400 club seats and 63 suites. The suites include party suites, dugout suites, executive suites, and batters’ suites. There is also a party swimming pool on its right-center field. It doubles up as a field suite of 35 guests for groups. Mark Grace of the Arizona Diamondbacks became the first hitter to land the ball into the pool. The baseball stadium also has a grass strip between the home plate and the pitcher’s mound. This feature exists only at Comerica Park in Detroit.
The foul territory in this ballpark is slightly greater than other ballparks constructed in the 1990s. The upper deck is one of the best in the majors, with 80 percent of the seats are in foul territory. Except for Dugout Suites, all other suits in Chase Field are positioned beneath the third floor. This not only keeps suites away from the public glare but also allows those on the upper deck to have a closer game experience.
In 2008, Chase Field installed a 46 feet tall and 136 feet long scoreboard at a cost of $14 million. It is the fifth-biggest HD screen in MLB. The Phoenix ballpark’s roof takes 5 minutes to open and close. Once the baseball stadium is covered, the air-conditioning system reduces the temperature inside the stadium to 78 °F. The HVAC system, which also serves 30 buildings, has a capacity powerful enough to cool 2,500 homes, each with a size of 2,000 square feet. It has enough free windows to allow ample sunlight into the field even when the roof is closed.
This ballpark in Phoenix has two restaurants overlooking the field. The upscale Arizona Baseball Club Restaurant is exclusively for those with suite tickets while Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill is open for all. A miniature diamond field complete with mascots, a playhouse, baseball cage, and an interactive digital suite is there for kids.
Purely Baseball Things To Know
- The Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series and NL Pennants and three consecutive West Division titles between 1999 and 2002 while playing at Chase Field. The home team also had 2007 and 2011 division titles.
- The home team won all four 2001 World Series games against the Yankees played in Phoenix.
- It hosted the 2011 MLB All-Star Game.
- On April 3, 2013, the ballpark witnessed its longest game. The Diamondbacks beat the St. Louis Cardinals 10-9 in a 16-inning game spreading over 6 hours and 53 minutes.
- The stadium was the host of the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2013.
- Chase Field has 80% seats in foul territory and one of the largest upper decks.
- In 2019, natural grass was replaced with Shaw Sports Turf.
- The inaugural season saw more than 3.6 million fans cheering up baseball games at the ballpark.
- In 2008, the baseball stadium got its 6,256-sq-feet videoscreen, which is eight-fold bigger than the last one.
- Chase Field also has the longest ribbon display at 1,119 feet.
- In 2004, D-back Richie Sexson hit a 503-feet homerun. It was then the longest hit at Chase Field and also the ball fell on the Jumbotron. The record was broken in 2008 when Adam Dunn hit a 504-feet home run.
- Jay Bell scored a grand slam against the Houston Astros in 1999. A baseball fan Gylene Hoyle won $1 million from Shamrock Foods for his bet on Bell to hit a grand slam.